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County approves rental subsidy pilot program for low-income seniors

Serving Seniors subsidy program
Posted at 8:23 PM, Oct 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-02 00:20:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County is hoping a new program will keep low-income seniors off the streets before they even get close to homelessness.

The Pilot Shallow Rental Subsidy Program will send $500 directly to landlords of low-income seniors to help pay some of their rent.

Silvia Martinez was homeless several times after a medical issue and says this program would have been a blessing.

“When we become homeless, you become powerless, or you feel powerless and it's hard for you to think and take action in a positive way,” explains Martinez.

The recommendation for the program was made last year during the county's homelessness needs assessment. Serving Seniors, a local organization that works with seniors in need, says this program will help seniors who are close to homelessness.

“If you add $500 a month, that's just enough to keep them housed. nobody is arguing that it's the optimal level or that they're going to live in great comfort but it keeps them off the street,” says Paul Downey, the non-profit’s president and CEO.

For now, preference will be given to seniors over 60, whose income are at or below 30% of the area median income, as well as those who live in certain areas of the county.

If the program is successful, the county plans on going to the state and federal governments to request support and funding to expand the program.

The application window will open by the beginning of next year and the rental subsidies will be paid starting in March 2023.